Is the Public turning on Trump over Russia Ties, Sessions’ Perjury?

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Americans have become deeply concerned about Russia. Some 75% of them see it as a very or moderately serious threat. This, according to an ORC/ CNN opinion poll. They are ranking it just after North Korea and Iran. This level of anxiety about Moscow is irrational, but likely it has to do with fears of Russian interference in the presidential election. Some 55% are somewhat or very concerned “that people associated with Donald Trump’s campaign had
contact with suspected Russian operatives during last year’s campaign.”

72% of Americans view Russian president Vladimir Putin unfavorably.

As news broke that Attorney General Jeff Sessions likely had a third previously unreported meeting with the Russian ambassador during the presidential campaign, when Sessions was a Trump surrogate, opinion polling shows that a majority of Americans want Sessions to resign because, they say, he lied under oath. A plurality, of 43 percent of Americans, have a negative view of him versus 23 percent who are positive.

I can’t think of a moment in my lifetime when scandal erupted in a new administration with this ferocity. Most Americans probably never even knew who most of the attorneys general were, much less wanted them gone within a month of their swearing in.

The scandal over contacts between Russia and Trump and his cronies during the campaign season is not going away, with 62 percent of Americans saying it is a somewhat or very serious issue.

Moreover, two-thirds of Americans polled want a special prosecutor to look into it. Even among Republicans, 43% say they want a special prosecutor!

While Trump came into office bashing China and cozying up to Russia, the American public has the opposite point of view. While 75% have apprehensions about Russia, some 50% view China favorably.

There is just as big a divide on many domestic issues, according to Quinnipiac.

Some 63% of Americans want undocumented immigrants to have a path to citizenship rather than be summarily deported.

Some 82% of Americans think it is very important that everyone have health care (as opposed to the plutocrats behind Trump’s health care policies, who think it is very important that they pay less taxes and that poor people take responsibility for their own deaths if they get sick.)

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28 Responses

  1. It seems possible, even probable, that we have elected a person who — even if he is not “officially” an agent of a foreign power– is so aligned, in emotion and attitude and most likely by a huge web of financial transactions, with the dictatorial/corrupt elites of a foreign power, that he cannot be trusted to actually know or be able to defend American interests. (Which still exist, and which still matter to ordinary citizens if they get too badly neglected.)

    In organizing a resistance, I am strongly favoring strategies and tactics that aim at building the biggest possible coalition, and I am strongly not favoring strategies and tactics that call for everyone following one “ideal” path, or for organizing “against” some would-be allies who are insufficiently “pure” in some extreme perspective.

  2. So they should be concerned. This new president has shown nothing but a sick obsession for Putin, has had at least 6 members of his administration have secretive calls and meetings with Russian elements, and with the growing evidence that Russian agents have hacked and interfered in our elections, and the possibility that they are doing the same in other nations, should make anyone concerned about the security of this country, and ask for investigations. If Russia wanted to bring the US down, the ideal way would be to manipulate the elections, put a clown in the White House, and the rest will follow.

  3. The interesting power play now going on is the nomination of Rosenstein to be Assistant Attorney General. Democrats want to hold his nomination ransom in exchange for a special prosecutor to investigate Russian influence within the fiasco known as the Trump administration.

    If Rosenstein is allowed to lead the investigation it will no doubt be tainted.

    I can only guess at the number of scholars who are hard at work writing books about this president to be released for the summer market. Stay tuned…more bombshells are on the way.

    • Seems premature to even think about a book, don’t you think?

      Most of us haven’t as much as caught our breath. Not because Trump’s such a man of evident action, but out of breathless terror at the disaster, absent Acts Of God, to which we appear destined.

  4. I’d like to take heart but public opinion reflected in polls is often fleeting. The American “people” have proved fickle and easily manipulated. All those “good white working folks” that James Webb likes to tout let the resentments they nursed through the years interfere with their judgment and voted for a man who is unfit to lead as POTUS. My guess is that if he can get something done with the wall and start deporting en masse he’ll win back many of his newly disaffected supporters.

    Let’s hope that I’m wrong.

  5. I am of the belief that Wikileaks received their Hillary data from a leaker, and not a hacker. Although with the 24/7 news coverage bearing down on us, even I stop from time to time to reconsider my opinions. Incidentally I would like to know more about the circumstances over the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich, and if Rich was one of the leakers who met with Ambassador Craig Murray.

    It is clear to see that Trump is a great target for the media to keep a constant bead on. I don’t like Trump myself, but come on now does he really deserve the treatment he is getting from our media? I’ll leave you all to answer that, because your opinion is the only opinion that qualifies when analyzing Trump’s being in office. It’s personal and I respect that.

    Funny thing that’s not so funny, is if we do end up going to war with Russia it will have started by Wikileaks exposing Hillary’s sabotaging the Sanders campaign. With that I will ask you to ask yourself will it have been worth it to support Hillary to such a degree as this…once again there’s no right answer, because the answer is yours and yours alone.

    • Regarding leaks and hacks — Shortly after the e-mails appeared and the allegations, claims, and surmises of Russian hacks began, at least three people, all with well-known names in the world of leaks, were quoted more than once saying “It was a leak from the DNC. I know the leaker. He is not Russian.”

      The claims that it was hacking continued, increased in number of sources, and decreased in cautions that “We can’t yet be sure.”

      And I have seen no further word from the “I know the leaker” people.

      So — Is that because they have realized that they were wrong? Or is it because they were and are quite right, and have been convinced that it is very much in their interests to shut up?

      • I have always found it curious that the Podesta leaks apparently stopped
        with the election. At least I heard no more about them afterwards….if so, the only conclusion one can draw is that Wikileaks was indeed leaking them to hurt Hillary; the aim was to influence the election, not simply to reveal the truth….

    • You seem to discount all the stories about his past criminal activities before becoming president.

      link to alternet.org

      Seriously, would you give the benefit of a doubt to a Democrat who did the things described in that article?

      • Please don’t misread me. I couldn’t think of anyone I would find more revolting being our 45th president, except for Hillary Clinton.

        I also regret in my comment I said Trump was being treated unfairly…it’s just that our media blows my mind with their constant 24/7 coverage of Trump, when all other news is being ignored.

        Read this…
        link to counterpunch.org

        Paul Street says more of how I feel. I’m more on the same page as you super390.

  6. I am wondering what is the nature of the ‘very or moderately serious threat’ so many Americans say they conceive Russia to be, and by extension why they should be so concerned with anyone having contacts with Russian ‘operatives’. Were they asked what exactly it is they are concerned about? What do they imagine Russia is going to do to them? Nuke Washington? Land forces on the Florida coast? The truth is they feel a need to answer such leading questions, they feel it would diminish them to say they don’t have an answer because they don’t know enough about it. Such polls are surely more reflections of media indoctrination than anything else.

    • It depends on what value you place on foreseeable consequences. Selectively leaking to affect another country’s election is, perhaps, normal dirtyness. Doing it to put a fascist madman in charge, one who may have the power (and the insane following) to terminate democracy for good, and whip up wars that dwarf Iraq with his conspiracy theories, is a striking act of contempt towards all his possible victims. Which with Trump is a very long list.

    • It feels like this is part of a neocon coup. They’ve lost their power and are looking for an angle to undermine the new white house.

  7. My thoughts have been evolving, and are settling around the idea that Trump himselve has no particular ideology or vision (other than his own self-aggrandizement, of course). In terms of public perceptions and polling, this means he will continue to duck and weave while the genuinely important stuff proceeds apace, in the background.

    Hence, the consistency we see, such as it is, comes from the strategic opportunity provided to those who Bannon and Priebus represent, to essentially guide him.

    This means Trump may prove more flexible than it first appeared, and that he may be managable, in terms of the most extreme agenda traditional Republicans might dream of. Hence, these EOs about immigration, The Wall, and his midnight temper tandrums, serve only to distract the eye from the more important structural changes being implemented.

    Progressive achievements stand to be rolled-back, and National Security will suffer from general incompetence in the near and intermediate term (the dramatic, boots on the ground sort of things). Even Obamacare may ultimately be only weakened.

    The things to most concerned with, however, aside from things that will get people killed or erode America’s role in the world, which are relatively survivable, would be these deeper structural changes that could have a ripple effect on economies around the world, for many generations.

    • The Civil Rights era has now been undone as completely as the Reconstruction was undone by the triumph of Jim Crow. Except this time there’s no Rest of America to escape to. It’s All of America this time.

      I have long feared that this could happen. But to see it happen on this scale, with the supporters of White Christian Patriarchy championing such a grotesque demagogue as, basically, being a savior figure, shows that they’re much worse than I suspected.

      Because in truth, this is the THIRD time that America’s redneck heartland has allied with oligarchs to reduce People of Color to statelessness and subhumanity. The first time was in 1676, a hundred years before the Revolution. Again, it was a slow drip, drip, drip of cleverly written laws that turned African indentured servants into slaves, and thus stigmatized them in a way that magically let poor Whites feel better about themselves for not being Black. This monstrous act may have saved the Southern colonies (the important ones) as a viable investment for Britain.

      Is this simply baked into the country’s foundation? Is this how things will be until power is wrested from White people by sheer numbers? Are we living in the Stanford Prison Experiment?

      Three strikes, you’re out, America.

  8. opinion polling shows that a majority of Americans want Sessions to resign because, they say, he lied under oath.

    Sessions was not the first to lie to Congress and he won’t be the last. James Clapper lied to the senate intelligence (?) committee without legal penalty. Many of the promoters of the Iraq war lied to Congress – also without legal penalty.

  9. Whether the Russians colluded with the Trump campaign is being investigated. The Trump-Russia probe has reached no conclusion yet, according to Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff has been obsessed with Russia for the last 2 months. The sane thing to do would be to wait for solid evidence before freaking out. What happens if several months from now there’s still no proof of collusion? The Democrats and the media will be even less credible.
    Trump opponents would be better off spending less energy on Russia, and more on saving healthcare, the environment, and immigrant families.

    • Quoting bobc “Trump opponents would be better off spending less energy on Russia, and more on saving healthcare, the environment, and immigrant families.” Maybe in the longer term? Right now Bad-POTUS is more vulnerable over Russian connections, the tax shelters and criminal tax evasion.

    • Do you understand that there may be no way under the Constitution to save healthcare, the environment, and immigrant families under a Republican monopoly of power?

      The Constitution operates under the assumption that Presidents and Congressmen will place their roles over their parties. This does not even begin to happen with modern Republicans (compare now to how they acted in 1974 against Nixon). For all practical purposes, the GOP may have the power to take away your right to vote, carry out mass ethnic cleansing, legalize slave labor in private prisons, or start World War III. The courts might be able to block the first three of those. Or not.

      How would you have stopped Hitler in 1934? If you don’t think we’re at that dire a point, then you don’t see the Republican Party and ordinary Republicans the way I do. They have already declared war on you and me, and now they legally have all the guns.

  10. The Russia biz is a distraction from accountability in general, if it removes the dangerous Sessions hard to complain…some other opinions lead me to think more smoke than fire
    link to consortiumnews.com
    no one ever went broke underestimating the american public

  11. The real bummer is Flynn. The White House now admits that he was a lobbyist for Turkey when he was campaigning for Trump. The White House claims that president Trump did not know this when he nominated Flynn. It does not matter whether that is true or false. If the WH did not know it obviously has not used “extreme vetting” for Flynn.

  12. After the onslaught of the media, the hysteria with which the — so far apparent — intrusion of Russia in USA politics has been hyped by the media, what would you expect if not a hike in negative attitudes towards Russia? Congratulations, NYT, Washpost, CNN, ABC, you have done your job. .

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